MONTALEGRE, Portugal (April 26, 2015) — The winning FIA World Rallycross Championship Team Olsbergs MSE got a solid start to their championship charge this weekend in Portugal, finishing in the points in their Ford Fiesta ST machines.
Andreas Bakkerud led the standings after the first day of competition but his luck turned in the fourth heat when a poor start dropped him back in the order. After starting the Final on the second row, the young Norwegian fought through the slick conditions to finish fifth. “When it started raining, I just couldn’t get into the rhythm. Nothing I tried to do was working,” said Bakkerud.
Even so, good performances in opening heat races put him in a strong position and he leaves the Portugal round of the 13-race season in fourth-place in the standings with 21 points.
“It was an awesome time. It feels so great to get back out and racing again,” said Bakkerud. “To be back having all the feelings you get when you race: it’s the nerves and the drama and the adrenaline; the highs and the lows. It’s unbelievable how I miss those things in the off-season.”
The 19-year-old Reinis Nitiss finished the weekend in 11th place, one position behind Namus OMSE driver Timur Timerzyanov. The rallycross newcomer is contesting only his second season with Olsbergs MSE and last year became the youngest driver in World RX history to win a round when he stood atop the podium in Norway.
“I don’t have much experience with the weather the way it was changing all the time,” said Nitiss. “It was a good learning weekend for me with the Olsbergs MSE team. Knowing I have the right people around me who can help me and teach me reminds me that an experience like this weekend prepares me for the future.”
Timerzyanov, who is on a campaign for the driver’s title this season under the Namus OMSE banner, said he is still adjusting to his new Red Bull/Viatti Ford Fiesta ST.
“With the weather being so inconsistent I can’t say I was feeling 100 percent at home sitting in the car,” said Timerzyanov, who earned two European Rallycross Championships in a Citroen (2012, 2013). “I’m looking forward to a dry condition track to get a real feel for the car in competition.”
The Bompiso Rallycross of Portugal took place in Montalegre, located in the hills of the Vila region, close to Spanish border. Olsbergs MSE joined a total of 52 cars, including 21 top spec Supercars armed with 600 brake horsepower, in the contest.
Olsbergs MSE Lites driver Kevin Eriksson earned his first win of the RX Lites season. The defending champion now leads the points heading into Round 2. His younger brother Oliver Eriksson didn’t advance to the Final but put in a strong performance in qualifying to end the day in fourth in the points. Newcomer Sandra Hultgren scored sixth in her first RX Lites Final.
The team is now preparing for Round 2 in less than a week at the Hockenheimring in Germany where the rallycross series will accompany the DTM opener.
Competition starts Friday, May 1, with opening heats and continues through Sunday.
“There are 12 races ahead of us and it’s just beginning,” said Nitiss.
Now in its second year as an FIA World Championship, World RX features eight permanent two-car teams — up from six in 2014 — plus two full-time independent entries. The 18 permanent World RX drivers will also be joined by a series of wildcard entrants and local drivers throughout the season. Olsbergs MSE is the defending FIA World Rallycross Teams’ champion.
The team is now preparing for Round 2 in less than a week at the Hockenheimring in Germany where the rallycross series will accompany the DTM opener. Competition starts Friday, May 1, with opening heats, and continues through Sunday